Fans of the 1981 "The Evil Dead" and its sequels can relax. And by "relax," I mean "screw themselves up into tight little balls of nervously flinching muscle." The reboot of the beloved, if somewhat low-budget, cult horror film about five young friends terrorized by a demonic spirit does exactly what it's supposed to do: scare you to the chiropractor.
For those who are not fans, "scare" will probably mean a trip to the drug store for Pepto-Bismol. The new version, by Uruguayan director Fede Alvarez, making his feature debut, is more stomach-churning than soul-chilling. The list of on-screen atrocities includes attacks by nail gun, electric carving knife, chain saw, shotgun, crowbar and chunk of ceramic from a broken toilet tank, used as a crude bludgeon.
Hey, when you're face to face with the bloodthirsty fiend who has inhabited the body of your best pal, you grab whatever tools are available.
As in the original film, the action revolves around a derelict cabin in the woods. This time, it's the site of a drug intervention. One of the friends, Mia (Jane Levy), is a junkie, and her brother, David (Shiloh Fernandez), his girlfriend, Natalie (Elizabeth Blackmore), and Mia's two best friends, Eric and Olivia (Lou Taylor Pucci and Jessica Lucas), have decided that the best place for Mia to experience the seizures, hallucinations and psychosis of withdrawal is in a place with a taxidermy shop's worth of rotting cat carcasses hanging from the basement ceiling.
In fairness, our heroes don't find those right off the bat, even though Mia can smell kitty tartare the minute she walks in the front door. It takes these dim bulbs a few minutes to find the feline abattoir, just as it takes them a few minutes to unleash the devil to whom the cats apparently have been sacrificed.